Barcelona 5-0 Villarreal: Messi, Fabregas & Alexis Sanchez all on target as champions respond to Real Madrid rout
Pep Guardiola's side got their league campaign off to a flying start, embarrassing the visitors with a display of precision, speed and class
By Roger Gonzalez
Two goals by Lionel Messi and a goal a piece from Thiago Alcantara, Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez saw the 21-time league winners exit the pitch to a standing ovation as Pep Guardiola's men tried out a 3-4-3 formation.
With several defenders out due to suspension or injury, Eric Abidal, Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets started in defence. However, the defenders saw little work as the attack of the home side stole the show.
25 minutes in, Barca's Spanish starlet put his side up with a fantastic solo effort.
Thiago made a fantastic run towards goal after receiving the ball from Fabregas just past midfield, blazing down the middle of the pitch before slowing down, sending the ball from the top left of the box into the lower-right corner of the goal.
Just as the first half was set to expire, Fabregas doubled the lead with a finish inside the box after a wonderful through ball from Messi.
The Rosario-born attacker slipped a clever little pass through the last line of their opponents, finding the former Arsenal captain running diagonally in the box. Fabregas took a touch with his right foot to evade Diego Lopez, knocking the ball into the left side of the net.
Two minutes into the second half, Sanchez added his side's third goal with a classy finish.
Darting down the right wing on the break, the former Udinese star touched the ball into the box, set his sight on goal and placed a careful shot into the left-side of the net as the flood gates opened.
Messi got on the scoring sheet with a goal similar to that of Fabregas, finishing on Andres Iniesta's pass, getting by Lopez with his left foot before finishing with his right into the open net.
Messi bagged his second goal 15 minutes from time with a finish in from close after a combination with Thiago saw the midfielder find the Argentina international crashing towards goal where a quick touch saw the ball roll under Lopez.
Barca earned all three points and next travel to face Real Sociedad on September 11 in the next league fixture.
Villarreal will host Sevilla on the same day.
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